Europe sliding toward recession

2020-04-08 10:04:37China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

Europe is being hit with a one-two punch as forecasters paint a picture of economies sliding into recession on the novel coronavirus-ravaged continent.

The eurozone and the European Union will likely see contractions of between 3 and 5 percent in gross domestic product in 2020, and global GDP will slump by between 0.5 and 3 percent, the Federation of German Industries predicted on Monday.

The novel coronavirus is raging across Europe, which has reported 608,500 infections and 51,059 as of Tuesday, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said.

On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the EU is facing the "biggest test since its foundation" and that all countries are equally affected.

The German government approved more financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, and introduced comprehensive immediate loans in response to the crisis, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy announced on Monday.

SMEs could obtain loans of up to 800,000 euros ($869,000) without risk assessment and with a 100 percent state guarantee.

Germany's confirmed number of coronavirus infections on Tuesday rose by 3,834 over the previous day to 99,225, snapping a run of four consecutive days of declines, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed. The reported death toll increased by 173 to 1,607.

In Italy, the worst-hit country, the coronavirus has claimed 16,523 lives and infected 132,547 people, according to data from the country's Civil Protection Department on Monday.

Italy's government approved on Monday an emergency decree that will offer more than 400 billion euros worth of liquidity and bank loans to companies hit by the pandemic.

"This is real firepower. I cannot remember such powerful measures being introduced in the history of our republic to help with the financing of our businesses," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said after a Cabinet meeting.

France on Monday reported 833 more coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 8,911, while infections-both confirmed in hospitals and "confirmed or possible" cases from nursing homes-jumped to 98,010, Health Minister Olivier Veran said. Veran warned that the epidemic "is not over".

In Russia, clinical trials of medicines to treat the coronavirus began on Monday, said Veronika Skvortsova, chief of the Federal Medical Biological Agency. That day the country granted registration to the first "express test" for coronavirus infection. It was developed by a Russian company and is said to give results within an hour.


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